So I recently read this paper from V.S Ramachandran's group at the Salk Institute and came to realize how weird the field of cognitive neuroscience can really get. The paper is on Apotemnophilia (phew!! saying it is a task in itself), which yours truly had never heard of before. In any case, the disease is characterized by the desire to amputate one's own limb (Now how about that). These patients are otherwise mentally normal.Individuals suffering from apotemnophilia always date the desire for a........ Read more »
McGeoch, P.D., Brang, D., Song, T., Lee, R.R., Huang, M., & Ramachandran, V.S. (2009) Apotemnophilia - the neurological basis of a 'psychological' disorder. Nature Precedings. info:/10101/npre.2009.2954.1
It’s an exciting headline – “Potent cancer drug hopes raised” – but what’s the real story behind it?
This is research from scientists in Manchester, Southampton and Latvia, funded by Cancer Research UK, Leukaemia Research, the AICR, Tenovus, and the ECMC network and published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
In their paper, the researchers have found [...]... Read more »
Ivanov, A., Beers, S., Walshe, C., Honeychurch, J., Alduaij, W., Cox, K., Potter, K., Murray, S., Chan, C., Klymenko, T.... (2009) Monoclonal antibodies directed to CD20 and HLA-DR can elicit homotypic adhesion followed by lysosome-mediated cell death in human lymphoma and leukemia cells. Journal of Clinical Investigation. DOI: 10.1172/JCI37884
Contact theory seems to be the new hot topic when it comes to solving the age old problem of prejudice. The theory simply states that given the right conditions if members of differing groups come in contact with one another, the interaction ultimately leads to more positive intergroup relations.Crisp and Turner decided to pose a fascinating question. What if members of those groups didn't actually meet, but simply imagined the positive social interaction? Would the results still be significant?........ Read more »
Crisp, R., & Turner, R. (2009) Can imagined interactions produce positive perceptions?: Reducing prejudice through simulated social contact. American Psychologist, 64(4), 231-240. DOI: 10.1037/a0014718
This post was translated by Igor Santos from the original published by Atila at the Brazilian blog Rainha Vermelha.==================================================================
Sexual selection is not the freshest of news. Darwin's grandfather Erasmus had already commented on it. 
But a very pertinent question is why it occurs, or at least, what is selected. After all, why does a female finds a male sexy?Two hypotheses could explain that. Fisher proposed the sexy gene hypothesis. He ........ Read more »
Ryan, M., Fox, J., Wilczynski, W., & Rand, A. (1990) Sexual selection for sensory exploitation in the frog Physalaemus pustulosus. Nature, 343(6253), 66-67. DOI: 10.1038/343066a0
Ryan, M. (1998) Sexual Selection, Receiver Biases, and the Evolution of Sex Differences. Science, 281(5385), 1999-2003. DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5385.1999
A discovery reported in last Friday's Science Magazine offers a new unifying principle for how pyramidal cells perform their function in the neocortex, as well as other cortical areas: Synaptic Integration in Tuft Dendrites of Layer 5 Pyramidal Neurons: A New Unifying Principle (by Matthew E. Larkum, Thomas Nevian, Maya Sandler, Alon Polsky, and Jackie Schiller), unfortunately behind a paywall. What this paper does is demonstrate that a type of neural activity called an NMDA ........ Read more »
Larkum, M., Nevian, T., Sandler, M., Polsky, A., & Schiller, J. (2009) Synaptic Integration in Tuft Dendrites of Layer 5 Pyramidal Neurons: A New Unifying Principle. Science, 325(5941), 756-760. DOI: 10.1126/science.1171958
New Zealand’s lesser short-tailed bat Mystacina tuberculata is slightly odd in the bat world due to its propensity for running about on the ground instead of flying. Unlike most bats, which catch their prey while in flight, the lesser short-tailed bat spends much of its time foraging on the forest floor. The elbow joints in [...]... Read more »
Suzanne J Hand, Vera Weisbecker, Robin MD Beck, Michael Archer, Henk Godthelp, Alan JD Tennyson, & Trevor H Worthy. (2009) Bats that walk: a new evolutionary hypothesis for the terrestrial behaviour of New Zealand's endemic mystacinids. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 9(169). info:/10.1186/1471-2148-9-169
The 285 macrourid fishes, the rattails, whiptails, and grenadiers, are one of, if not the, most abundant fish in the deep. You cannot throw…well anything…without hitting one. What do all these fish eat? In one scenario, macrourids feed on organisms living on the seafloor, that in turn originally feed on detritus, i.e. marine snow, raining [...]... Read more »
Drazen, J., Phleger, C., Guest, M., & Nichols, P. (2009) Lipid composition and diet inferences of abyssal macrourids in the eastern North Pacific. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 1-14. DOI: 10.3354/meps08106
Action figures have gotten bigger and more muscular over the last 25 years. In a straightforward bit of research, Baghurst et.al. (2006) measured changes in the relative sizes of action figures that have been in production for more than 25 years (G.I. Joe, Batman, Hulk, Spiderman, and Superman). Their data are summarized in the table [...]... Read more »
BAGHURST, T., HOLLANDER, D., NARDELLA, B., & HAFF, G. (2006) Change in sociocultural ideal male physique: An examination of past and present action figures. Body Image, 3(1), 87-91. DOI: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2005.11.001
Not long ago, the problem of consciousness was thought to be scientifically non-tractable. But with a lot more psychophysical and brain mapping data coming in from studies being done on normal subjects and people with brain disorders, the field has opened up. In the last decade, a variety of brain processes were proposed to account for consciousness and several more keep coming in but as of today, no concrete model exists. Typical examples include recurrent computation (Grossberg (1999) and La........ Read more »
Last year Nora and I went on a hike in the remote Pasayten Wilderness in northern Washington state. Parts of the hike were extremely grueling, while other parts were quite easy and fun. I made this short video to try to capture the differences:
The music was added as an afterthought, but in the end I think it's what makes the video so charming: without it, it would just be an ordinary walk in the woods. For each section of the trail, I chose a music clip that I thought expressed our feelings ........ Read more »
Baraldi, F., Poli, G., & Rodà, A. (2006) Communicating expressive intentions with a single piano note. Journal of New Music Research, 35(3), 197-210. DOI: 10.1080/09298210601045575
by Jennifer in OpenHelix
Some of you who found this blog way back may remember Trey’s post on our OpenHelix taste strip experiment. Around that same time (probably because I was primed for noticing ’stuff related to the genetics of taste’) I saw a couple of different articles on umami – our fifth taste – including this one from [...]... Read more »
He, K., Zhao, L., Daviglus, M., Dyer, A., Van Horn, L., Garside, D., Zhu, L., Guo, D., Wu, Y., Zhou, B.... (2008) Association of Monosodium Glutamate Intake With Overweight in Chinese Adults: The INTERMAP Study. Obesity, 16(8), 1875-1880. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2008.274
...set of distinct ecological communities that are biologically entangled through the spatial dispersion of commonly hosted, interacting species is one way of defining the term “metacommunity.” Essentially, a metacommunity is an order of ecological organization above the community level. So, moving backwards through the hierarchy, a metacommunity is a set of distinct communities...... Read more »
Binckley, C., & Resetarits, W. (2008) Oviposition behavior partitions aquatic landscapes along predation and nutrient gradients. Behavioral Ecology, 19(3), 552-557. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arm164
This is your monkeypox infection with
an adaptive immune response:
This is your monkeypox infection without
an adaptive immune response:
Osorio, J., Iams, K., Meteyer, C., & Rocke, T. (2009). Comparison of Monkeypox Viruses Pathogenesis in Mice by In Vivo Imaging PLoS ONE, 4 (8) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006592.
Wild-type (immune-competent) mice (left) or SCID mice (no B or T cell [...]... Read more »
Osorio, J., Iams, K., Meteyer, C., & Rocke, T. (2009) Comparison of Monkeypox Viruses Pathogenesis in Mice by In Vivo Imaging. PLoS ONE, 4(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006592
There are plenty of times when it’s easy to give up on doing something – just ask me to do the vacuum cleaning or do a workout at the gym! On the other hand, there are plenty of times when someone close to me sighs and asks ‘How long are you going to be?’ [...]... Read more »
Karsdorp, P., Nijst, S., Goossens, M., & Vlaeyen, J. (2009) The role of current mood and stop rules on physical task performance: An experimental investigation in patients with work-related upper extremity pain. European Journal of Pain. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2009.07.003
The way we think about abstract concepts like time is grounded in physical metaphors. For example, we talk about re-arranged events being moved from one day to another, as if through space. Similarly, there is a metaphorical, embodied aspect to our emotions - fear is associated with physical withdrawal, for example, whilst anger is associated with approach and confrontation. An intriguing new study shows that this shared way of thinking about time and emotion can lead to some surprising effects......... Read more »
Hauser, D., Carter, M., & Meier, B. (2009) Mellow Monday and furious Friday: The approach-related link between anger and time representation. Cognition , 23(6), 1166-1180. DOI: 10.1080/02699930802358424
Lombroso believed that 40% of criminals were ‘born criminals’ who could be distinguished by physical features including relatively long arms, prehensile feet with mobile big toes, low and narrow forehead, large ears, thick skull, large jaw, etc. The main objection to his hypotheses were his campaign on the basis of his theory for a preventive [...]... Read more »
Craig, M., Catani, M., Deeley, Q., Latham, R., Daly, E., Kanaan, R., Picchioni, M., McGuire, P., Fahy, T., & Murphy, D. (2009) Altered connections on the road to psychopathy. Molecular Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2009.40
Yang, Y., Raine, A., Colletti, P., Toga, A., & Narr, K. (2009) Abnormal temporal and prefrontal cortical gray matter thinning in psychopaths. Molecular Psychiatry, 14(6), 561-562. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2009.12
Homunculus image from Reinhard Blutner.OK kids, let's start today's lesson by viewing the G-Rated [i.e., genital-less] flash explanation of homunculus.The neuroanatomical definition of homunculus is a "distorted" representation of the sensorimotor body map (and its respective parts) overlaid upon primary somatosensory and primary motor cortices. The above figure illustrates the sensory homunculus, where each body part is placed onto the region of cortex that represents it, and the size of the bo........ Read more »
Michels, L., Mehnert, U., Boy, S., Schurch, B., & Kollias, S. (2009) The somatosensory representation of the human clitoris: An fMRI study. NeuroImage. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.07.024
Pushkarev, D., Neff, N., & Quake, S. (2009). Single-molecule sequencing of an individual human genome Nature Biotechnology DOI: 10.1038/nbt.1561Yes, it's yet another "complete" individual genome sequence, following on the heels of Craig Venter, James Watson, an anonymous African male (twice, and not without controversy), a female cancer patient, a Chinese man, and two Koreans. There is a new twist, though: this is the first genome to be sequenced using single molecule sequencing te........ Read more »
Pushkarev, D., Neff, N., & Quake, S. (2009) Single-molecule sequencing of an individual human genome. Nature Biotechnology. DOI: 10.1038/nbt.1561
Polymer science is more unique in its physics rather than chemistry. All reactions in various polymerization known today are not unconceivable in the scheme of organic synthesis. There is no new concept in reaction mechanisms. In contrast, the unique properties of polymer materials mainly stem from chain topology rather than detailed chemical structures, which have led the polymer physics research from Flory’s mean-field theory, in a statistical physical scheme, to de Gennes’........ Read more »
Hustad, P. (2009) Frontiers in Olefin Polymerization: Reinventing the World's Most Common Synthetic Polymers. Science, 325(5941), 704-707. DOI: 10.1126/science.1174927
A woman’s choice of food is influenced by the gender of her dining companions, according to a study published in the journal Appetite. Meredith Young, a psychologist at McMaster University in Canada, lead a team observing 469 students as they ate in university cafes. She found that the more men a woman dined with, the [...]... Read more »
Young, M., Mizzau, M., Mai, N., Sirisegaram, A., & Wilson, M. (2009) Food for thought. What you eat depends on your sex and eating companions. Appetite. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2009.07.021
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